Updated: Jun 27
Mix buss processing can be a daunting proposition for a fledgling mixer, and for good reason. As it involves processing every aspect of the mix, a poor decision can easily screw up the mix before you've even got going so many choose to leave it alone.
On the flipside, with a bit of knowledge and understanding mix buss processing can take your mix to the next level with ease.
Here's 3 tips to help get you started.
A little goes a long way. Just like mastering, it's all about making small incremental moves always remembering that every eq boost or cut it affecting every single track.
Process the mix buss before you start mixing other tracks. Moves you make on the mix buss will affect the decisions you make on individual tracks later on. Some engineers do process at the end of the mix too, although I think of that more like polishing.
If using compression the key is go gentle. A moderately slow attack (10–30 ms), fast release (less than 50 ms, depending on the music), and a ratio of 2:1 or less, resulting in just a dB or two of gain reduction (perhaps a bit more if the genre is dance music or hip-hop) at the loudest points. Go much beyond those settings and your mix will start to sound flat and strained.
If you've not processed the mix buss before I urge you to go try it. Check out the video guide and start with some simple and subtle eq moves.